Ok, first up, let me confess that I am not somebody who scares easily in the conventional sense of the term. I mean, you can throw a skeleton at me from the darkness, that might startle me due to the suddenness of the event, but that will not scare me, per se. Now that we have established that I don’t scare easily I will go on with the rest of the post, which is a ‘fictional imagination’ only. Once again I repeat this post is fictional and imagination only, nothing more.
Jim had always been scared of snakes (creepy crawlies, as he called them) from the time he could remember. He didn’t know when it started or why he was scared of them, but it was so. He therefore did all he could to avoid any snake references in his life including carefully scanning the TV Schedules so that he would not even surf channels like Nat Geo Wild, Animal Planet and the like when shows like Built to kill, Predators, Snakes of the Amazon etc would be running.
In fact he hated snakes so much that he wouldn’t even use leather products of any sort. His shoes, wallet, belt, all were made of materials other than leather. While he was younger, he was the butt of all his friends’ jokes for carrying around a wallet made of denim material and wearing a belt which looked more like a strip of tarpaulin material fastened by a metal buckle. But his Ophidiophobic tendencies meant that while he would bear the humiliation of being incessantly ragged by his friends, he would not switch to leather wallets or wear a leather belt ever.
But fate, as they say, conspires against you in the funniest of ways. The one day that Jim picked to visit the Income-Tax office in the wooded campus of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore was the day that his friend, confidante and partner-in-crime Rishi decided to ditch him. Jim therefore was alone in the elevator between the third and the fourth floor in the ITO when it decided to stop midway with a jarring thud. And given that this was a Govt office and quite an old one at that, the lights also went off as soon as the elevator stopped.
Using his mobile, Jim found the red button on the panel with a bell icon on it and pressed it hard. He could vaguely hear the ringing sound somewhere in the elevator shaft, but despite pressing it continuously for around a minute and a half, he did not hear anything but the ringing. He then realized that it was around 1.30 PM and the admin personnel in the office had probably gone out for lunch. Given that he was stuck in an elevator, his mobile didn’t have any network signal which meant that Jim had no choice but to wait until help arrived.
He gradually eased himself into a sitting position with his knees close to his stomach and started dozing off. He didn’t know how long he was asleep when he suddenly heard a scratching sound from somewhere near the fan at the top of the elevator. Not one to scare easily, he switched on the flashlight app on his mobile and tried to see where the sound was coming from, when his worst nightmare came true.
He saw the head of a black snake hanging down from the small grille at the top of the elevator where the fan was fixed. Startled by this sudden change of situation and due to his morbid fear of snakes, Jim managed to drop his mobile to the floor and ensure that it wouldn’t switch on again. But that was the least of his worries right now. He could imagine that snake crawling out of the fan grill and down the side of the elevator wall closer and closer to him.
He scrambled his way to the button panel again and started pressing the red alarm button again, this time more frantically. He could clearly hear the bell ringing in the elevator shaft, he only hoped that somebody would actually hear the bell and save him from being bitten or worse swallowed to death by the snake creeping down. Given that he couldn’t even see the snake in the darkness, he was all the more scared to make any kind of movement other than pressing the button.
And then he heard it, a feeble voice of a man from somewhere in the elevator shaft “Saar, saar, yaaradhru lift nalli idheera?” (Sir, sir, is there anybody in the lift?) And then forgetting about snakes being attracted to sudden movements and loud vibrations, Jim started screaming, “Yes, yes, between third and fourth floor.”
“Five minutes saar, I will open”, the voice replied. “Soon, please open it soon” Jim frantically panted.
The next five minutes seemed like an eternity and all Jim could think about was what the snake would be doing right now, whether it would be hungry enough to swallow him whole or whether it would just bite him, whether it would be in an aggressive mood or in a docile mood, whether it would rattle its tail before striking or whether it would just hiss and bite. The possibilities racing through his mind were endless, and none of the endings seemed conducive to him. He could imagine its scaly skin crawling closer to him every second, he could sense its infrared eyes piercing the darkness and searching for him.
Finally when he heard somebody prying open the doors of the elevator, he noticed that he was not too far above the third floor and that the open door provided him with enough space to lie down on the floor and crawl out through the opening. However, he had to do it feet first as he had a good 4 foot jump down to the ground level of the third floor. But anything was better than being stuck with the snake, and Jim therefore used all the athletic ability that he didn’t know he had and managed to crawl his way out of the elevator.
Once outside the man who helped him asked “What happened saar? Why so much tension?” to which he replied “Snake, there is a snake in the lift.” The man laughed “What snake? In lift? No saar, you see something else.”
And as luck would have it, the elevator started working again. When the man managed to close the door of the lift, it immediately came down to the third floor, stopped and the doors opened. Seeing this Jim started running away screaming “Snake in the lift.” He had had enough excitement for one day.
The man stepped into the elevator, two minutes later he came out smiling, holding an old leather belt which had been hanging down from the fan grille. Jim’s black snake had been an old leather belt which had mysteriously found its way into the elevator.
Once again to make things perfectly clear, I am not scared of snakes, no I am not. This is a fictional story about a character that is afraid of snakes, and is not in any form or fashion related to my fears at all.
Uurrrrghhh….who am I kidding? I am petrified of snakes of any variety. Just writing this post was a terribly disturbing experience for me.
This post is written for WordPress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts where the idea is to publish at least one post a day based on the prompts provided.
Today’s prompt was “You’re locked in a room with your greatest fear. Describe what’s in the room.” And the post was a fictional story woven around Jim’s greatest fear.